Preparing the good soil. Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Joseph Evans comments on the readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Luis Herrera offers a short video homily.

Joseph Evans-July 13, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

The parable of the seed and the sower is one of Christ's best known and most graphic parables. This is helped by the fact that he offers a clear exegesis of it, something he did not usually do.. "He taught them many things in parables". Jesus used parables both to reveal and to partially veil his message. Thus, he told several parables about the kingdom because he did not want to be too clear when the Jewish people of the time were obsessed with a political and territorial kingdom, while he wanted to emphasize a spiritual and universal kingdom. That is why Jesus says: "to outsiders everything is presented in parables, so that no matter how much they may look, they may not see; no matter how much they may hear, they may not understand".. In other words, for those who are willing to understand, the parables give much light and vivid, graphic teaching: "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God."But, for those who are closed to God's grace, its meaning remains hidden.

In this parable that the Church offers us in today's Gospel, much emphasis is placed on the reality and even the risk of freedom. 

Whoever has the foolish idea that everyone automatically goes to heaven has neither read nor understood this parable, let alone the next parable in this chapter (Mt 13), which speaks of the tares being burned in an eternal fire.

The seed expresses the various possible responses to Christ's word and invitation. He sows generously, abundantly; his grace is available to all. But people receive or reject it in different ways. 

The seed can be devoured by the birds (the devil and his minions), fail to take root due to superficiality and softness, or be choked by the thorns of wealth and earthly concerns. 

These are the three main ways in which souls fail to respond to God's grace. An immediate rejection: the seed does not even take root, because the soul is so hardened and so closed to spiritual realities. A second-stage rejection, in the case of weak souls, without roots, who can only believe in good times, but who fall away at every trial. Perhaps the danger we run most: the slow and subtle suffocation of faith when our soul is gradually strangled by the desire for riches and possessions, or by the problems and worries of life. 

But there is another possible way: to receive the seed in good soil and bear fruit. This good soil is the acquired virtues, the good knowledge of our faith and the habits of prayer. How important is the role of parents in helping to create this good soil in their children, where the seed can take root and flourish. But even among good souls, the answer may vary, "thirty or sixty or one hundred percent". Let us be ambitious to bear as much fruit as possible, through practical works of love and growth in our prayer life.

Homily on the readings of the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.

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